OPINION   
Editor's Note
Scrap the OEC
It was one of the scariest experiences ever. Imagine being squeezed into a lift, and then realizing when you get to your desired floor that every square inch of the space you were supposed to step out on was crammed-full of people?

That was exactly what happened when a number of us braved the queues that snaked around United Centre's ground floor lift lobby on Mar. 15 to make it in time for our appointment at the Consulate on the 14th floor. Details...

Anak Araw
Habol papel
Nitong mga nakaraang linggo ay nasaksihan natin ang ilan sa pinakamahahabang pila sa Konsulado. Ito ay dahil dumagsa ang mga taong kumukuha ng OEC, ang Overseas Employment Certificate, dahil sa sunud-sunod na piyesta opisyal. At dahil sa dami ng tao, mayroong pumila mula alas otso ng umaga hanggang alas sais at nagtiis ng gutom at ginaw upang makuha lang ang isang papel na nagpapakitang sila nga ay OFW. Details...

Migrant's Forum
Quenched
There is this feeling where you want to do something, in which you keep saying you will do it BUT never actually find the time to do it. I have HAD this feeling and finally it's off my list.

Here's the deal: I've been living in Hong Kong for 11 years and in this course of time, despite the advancement of technology i.e. having the Internet as basically the new form of encyclopedia, I did not really try to learn more about Philippine history even if I wanted to/needed to because of feeling ashamed of not knowing more. Details...

Know Your Rights
Processing a contract with new employer in HK
All Filipino workers abroad are required to go through a private recruitment agency when finding a new employer. While the Philippine Secretary of Labor said in a recent visit that name-hire/direct-hire is still acceptable, what happens in pracrice is different. Labor Departments of Consulate Generals of the migrant-sending countries, especially of the Philippines and that of Indonesia, strictly instruct their nationals to go through agencies when getting a new employer. So we will deal with this existing practice in Hong Kong until the campaign to consider direct-hiring as an option has succeeded. Details...

BUHAY PINAY   
May kakampi

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NEWS FROM HOME   
Presidential pick to be based on more than survey ratings
More than ratings in surveys, competence, honesty, trustworthiness and performance record are what President Benigno Aquino III will consider in endorsing candidates for the 2016 elections.
See this month's stories...

COMMUNITY   
Sun Writers raise $6K in walk for Bethune House
More than 100 Filipinos, mostly migrant workers, joined hands in a gesture of friendship and generosity as they took a leisurely walk at the Peak on Apr 6, organized by The Sun Writers Club.
See this month's stories...

SPORTS   
Taekwondo contest draws in Filipino athletes

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PINOY JOKES   
No sex since 1955

See this month's stories...

Chinese Horoscope   
Ano ang hatid ng Abril sa iyo

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Your Daily News   
  GMANews
  Phil. Daily Inquirer
  Manila Times

  May 2013 Hong Kong News   
Filipina appeals removal order to be with resident kid
A Filipina fighting to remain in Hong Kong to be with her underage daughter who holds permanent resident status here has elevated her battle to the Court of Appeal.

Milagros Tecson Comilang, a former domestic helper, has appealed a decision of the Court of First Instance rejecting her challenge to the Director of Immigration's repeated refusal to extend her permission to stay in the territory.

The Court of Appeal has reserved its judgment after hearing arguments on Apr. 16.

The lower court ruling, which was handed down in June last year, also denied Comilang's petition for a judicial review of the Commissioner of Registration's rejection of her application for a Hong Kong permanent identity card.

The outcome of the case could have serious implications for all Filipino children who have been granted right of abode, but whose parents do not share this status. Such is the case of about two dozen children of Filipino domestic workers who were granted permanent residency about three to four years ago.

At the appeal hearing, Comilang's counsel, Gladys Li, SC, described the legal proceeding before Justices Peter Cheung, Frank Stock and Joseph Paul Fok as a special case involving a child who is underage, a minority and who requires the constant presence of a parent.

Comilang first came to the city in 1997. Shortly after her last contract was terminated on July 13, 2005, she underwent an Islamic marriage with a certain Shaker Ahmed, a Hong Kong permanent resident. She subsequently applied for a change of her immigration status to remain in the city as a dependant of her husband.

Pending the processing of her application, the Director of Immigration did not extend Comilang's permission to stay, which expired on Oct. 10, 2005.

Then, in February 2006, the already overstaying Comilang gave birth to Zahrah Ahmed, who acquired permanent resident status through her father and by virtue of her being born in Hong Kong.

Ahmed, the husband, was subsequently discovered to be in a subsisting marriage at the time he married Comilang. He later withdrew his sponsorship of the Filipina's change of status application.

Since then, Comilang has resisted several orders for her leave so she could stay with her daughter, whom she wants to remain in the territory to enjoy her rights as a permanent resident. The child is a co-applicant in the case.

While recognizing the state's right to control who stays in Hong Kong, Li argued that the immigration department should allow a custodial parent the right to stay in the interest of the child.

The Court, warned Li, should consider the impact of their decision because, in compelling Comilang to leave, the child essentially loses her right of abode.

Li also questioned the fairness of allowing unmarried children below 18 years of age to be dependants of parents, and yet denying the same right to a resident child and her parent.

On the other hand, Anderson Shek, counsel for the Director of Immigration, wanted the Court to clarify what a child's right of abode entailed.

"To what extent can (the child's right of abode) be relied upon (by) the mother (who has) no right of abode?" asked Shek.

Foreign nationals are allowed to sponsor their relatives as dependants. In exceptional cases, the Director of Immigration also has the discretion to allow other foreign nationals to stay in Hong Kong on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

However, in the appealed 50-page judgment, Presiding Justice Johnson Lam had stated that the courts will not lightly interfere with the Director's exercise of discretion and that "humanitarian considerations are not reviewable in courts" (Lau Kong Yung vs Director Immigration [1999]).

Judge Lam also ruled that it was not necessary for the court to come to any conclusion on the impact of the refusal of Tecson's extension of stay on the future of Zahrah Ahmed.

He further rejected the argument that Comilang needed to leave Hong Kong with her daughter, simply because she had custody of the child.

"The Family Court has jurisdiction to reconsider the question of custody when (Comilang) has to leave Hong Kong. One option is to grant custody to the father. Another option is to grant leave to relocation. It is entirely a matter for the Family Court to decide in view of the prevailing circumstances and the best interest of the child," said Justice Lam.


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